Use tasty words on your website – it is not as nutty or cheesy as you might think
Fresh research has come up with some meaty evidence to show that when we use words related to taste we produce a much greater engagement than similar metaphors. If I were to say that your website kindly introduced me to new ideas, it would not have the same emotional impact as saying that your website infused me with new ideas. It’s the same, it seems, when you meet someone – they could give you a warm embrace or a tender one. Similarly, you might go to a meeting which fizzed with excitement or one that made an impression.
Food related and taste related words can often spice up a phrase – whoops, I’ve done it again.
But just think of the times we all use taste or food in our metaphors and similes. We say that an idea is “flaky” or “tasteless”. We talk about events that were “cheesy” or people that are just too “mushy”. Food and taste words get everywhere.
The researchers who have looked into this at Princeton University have found that our brains respond to food and taste words in a different way to equivalent phrases using alternative metaphors. When a phrases uses words we generally associate with food the emotional centres of our brain get triggered more.
This makes evolutionary sense, of course. Food is an essential component of survival and so you would expect our brains to be able to more quickly respond to food signals than many other communications elements.
Of course, these days – at least for most people – food for survival is not an issue. We do not need to respond so quickly to food signals because we will not starve. However, our brains do not know that and so they respond as though we were back millions of years ago, needing to keep a constant eye out for food.
Make sure your website includes food-related headings
Wherever possible include food-related words in your website headings. That’s because these are the words people see first, so by tickling their taste-buds you will engage them quickly and keep them longer. Remember too that there are words associated with food that could have a similar impact such as “lean” or “rich” or “fresh” for instance. The idea is that your headings should include words that create an association with food and this in turn triggers the emotional response you want in your readers.
If you need some ideas, here is a great list of taste-related words.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+